dinner. The ranch has Texas’s only Forbes fivestar rated restaurant – and the prickly pear cactus sorbet turned out to be a delicious revelation.
I love to be outdoors, to have my cobwebs blown away by bright sunshine and a warm breeze. But could I cope with doing this while on a horse? I hadn’t ridden for 10 years and had never been a natural, but I was keen to get back in the saddle. I returned to my hacienda under a blanket of stars and was soon tucked up in bed, where I was lured to sleep by the sounds of crickets and the glow of a log fire, to dream of trails and swishing tails.
The horses at Dos Brisas are treated just as well as the human guests, with their own team of personal trainers, allergists, nutritionists, masseurs and a personal chef. This may explain their good nature. I climbed on to my horse, Kiss, and as my cowboy boots rested against her flanks I felt ready for anything.
We set off on a trail through the rocky landscape, under canopies of Spanish moss, over babbling streams and through fields of Texas bluebonnets. Snakes and lizards darted alongside us as a hawk circled overhead. Despite the challenges of the foreign terrain, I felt strong and prepared, thanks to my lovely guide and, of course, the sure-footed Kiss.
Two hours in, I had a huge desire to ride until sunset (it was only midday) but my body was already starting to ache for a bath of Epsom salts.
However, cowgirls don’t get a lot of rest so it was straight on to the shooting practice after returning to the ranch and saying goodbye to Kiss.
“Some guests really take to this and get all Annie Oakley about it,” my instructor informed me, as she loaded clay pigeons into a nearby contraption.
I was nervous handling the gun, which felt cumbersome in my grip, but with careful instruction I focused and pulled the trigger into the sky. It was soon obvious, after hitting just two of the 10 “pigeons”, that I was not a natural. Annie can keep her gun!
I soon decided that I was better suited to a gentle canter (but note that all levels of riding ability are welcome) through a forest trail.
There was also the option of fishing and archery to continue my cowgirl training, but the tub was calling my aching limbs. This was followed by an evening spent around the campfire with other guests devouring s’mores (a marshmallow-and-
‘You are in this hacienda with a fabulous fireplace and amazing soaking tub, then you step outside to ranch life: authentic small-town Texas and good, downhome cooking’